#Write20Minutes

As a writer, I’ve always been more of a sit down and write for an hour or more kind-of girl, but lately, life has just become too busy.

Between my kid’s educational needs, recreational needs, and nutritial needs, between buying a new house while also maintaing the old one, between taking my diabetic cat to the vet for ongoing analysis, and celebrating family birthdays, and end of the school year activities–there just aint no time to sit for a hour or more.

Heck, I’m not even sure I get to sit for an hour altogether in the course of a whole day! Maybe if you group together all my meals, bathroom visits, and the occassional instance where my legs happen to give out right next to a chair. 😉

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I’m sure most of you parents out there feel my pain. Little ones during those first few years take up so much time and energy–don’t doubt m’ love for them, it’s unceasing–but it would be a welcome break to actually have me-time every day.

As a side-affect of this busy mom-lifestyle, I have suffered a great deal of angst over the past 6 months for not writing more. For not taking every opportunity, or staying up late, or waking up at dawn, to jot down a few paragraphs.

And to be honest, the break between each writing day has been so great, that by the time I can actually sit down for an hour, I have to spend 20 minutes rereading what was going on so that I could even get started.

So! Last week I was running around, doing chores, nagging the kids not to spill things, when it dawned on me to just take 20 minutes to write. My son was ready for his nap. My daughter could play her tablet–yay technology–and perhaps I could write a few words on my fantasy werewolf novel.

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Day 1 was an instant success. I topped out around 300ish words for that 20 minutes! Day 2 was even better. I got up into the 400’s. And I’ve maintained the 400ish wordcount every day. But the thing is, even though I’m only writing for 20 minutes, I’m getting things done. My novel is moving forward–1 page at a time, literally. And not only is it moving forward, but I remember what I was doing the day before, so there’s not wasted time to get started. I just sit down for 20 minutes, turn blood into ink, then celebrate my success.

There has been a precipitous drop in my writing anxiety, and a happier outlook because I’m getting to do something for myself every day.

I’ve had such great success and enjoyment from this process, that I couldn’t wait to share it with my writing friends. So, I invite you to participate and write just 20 minutes a day! If you do, please comment on Twitter with your wordcount and the hashtag #write20minutes!

I look forward to sharing and celebrating our writing achievements! Please comment below if you’re a current subscriber to this process and be sure to share any tips you’ve picked up over the years! Remember, we’re all in this writing thing together!

Closing Date!

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I’m so excited to announce that my hubby and I have finally found a great house for our family to move into! The exciting news, we close on Friday. I’ve waited such a long time to say anything because we’ve already been under contract twice, and had a contract outright rejected by a seller. We’ve gone through multiple home visits, inspections, and negotiations over the past four months. And let me tell you, dragging a 4 year old and a toddler into stranger’s houses is not only stressful, but insane. I especially hate all the staged homes with breakable knick-knacks sprinkled throughout just in reach of my 22 month olds sticky fingers.

The  house we finally selected was not staged, not even lived in presently. The hardwoods were beautifully polished and the kitchen had the prettiest granite–bits of blue and yellow and green; it looks almost like pressed yellow flowers are embedded into the rock. I can’t wait to make poptarts in there!

Even though we’re pretty much packed, we’ll be putting off our actual moving date until June. Though the house itself is in great shape, the walls are tired and in some places, covered in wallpaper. We’re going to hire a company to come in and paint everything fresh.

My daughter–the 4 year old–has already picked her bedroom and announced where she would like her bed placed. My hubby has already selected a location for his garden. I’ve got a spot for my desk (Let the writing commence!)!

I can’t wait to pick out floor rugs, an informal dining table, and all the little decor bits that go into getting a new place. We’re going to display some of our wedding memorabilia, and we’re going to put out the fancy china in a way that looks pretty and organized (instead of sloppy stacks, as before).

Oh, the fun of starting something new! I can’t wait for it all to begin!

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Consistency In Your Writing

This week’s post on self editing and formatting focuses on consistency. When writing a story, certain aspects need to remain the same–or if they change, change due to choice, not negligence. So…

  • Keep notes on scenery, location, and physical appearance.
    • If your characters get a hair cut, make a note of it and remember to move forward with those changes.
    • If you’re writing scifi or fanasy, consistency in setting is invaluable. It pulls readers out of the story if they have to think too much on where the characters are.
  • Plot: have an over-arching rainbow, but be true and consistent with what’s happening. Be believeable–not forced.
    • Keep characters on their journey. Don’t get sidetracked with scenes that detract from the overall purpose.

 

Now…

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Have a great weekend folks! Just keep writing. And don’t worry, tweaking consistency can come in the later stages of editing. If you need to bust out that initial draft in all it’s horrors, just do it!

Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together!

Self Editing and Formatting: Writing Patterns

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Alright guys we’re back on track! Today’s self editing and formatting post focuses on writing patterns. We all have ways that we naturally express ourselves. In writing, this expression may become repetitive, here’s what to look out for:

  • Don’t be too repetitive of character traits (ie: In a book I’ve decided not to continue reading, the MC has grey eyes which look this way and that–all the time. The description was completely unrelated to the scene and was often distracting during the action-y parts.)
    • Use character description when necessary, but don’t let it become the focus of your writing. Readers have an imagination–let them use it.
  • Vary sentence structure. Have long sentences and short ones. Use descriptions when necessary, but don’t be afraid to leave sentences concise.
  • Use the thesaurus.
    • We’ve all been told to use words that come naturally to us, but when we’re writing an 80,000+ word novel, we’ll need to branch out and find new and creative ways to describe what’s happening.
      • ie: You character doesn’t have to walk down the sidewalk 12 times during the first chapter. What’s her/his mood? Is she grouchy? She could stomp, or drag her feet. Is he excited? He could skip (I wouldn’t), or lob.
  • And for those of us lucky enough to write often and well, don’t tell the same story over and over again. Branch out. Find new characters and new circumstances–your never know, you may discover that you like other genres.
  • Make sure every word is necessary. With today’s fast-paced world, no body wants to read 300 words describing fog as it rolls across the bow of a ship. Say what you need to say, then get moving. Readers crave action these days–not necessarily blowing things up kind-of action–but in other words, don’t stagnate the plot.

And that’s it folks! I hope everyone has a great Easter! Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together!

My Writing Process…er, Progress

 

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So, I’ve been writing for over 6 years now, and gone from an attrocious novice, to what I consider a decent emerging author. I’ve had several short stories published–also lots of micro-fiction, which is so fun! And I’m getting closer and closer to actually finishing a novel that’s good enough to pester agents about.

The progress I’ve noticed in my writing is something that’s emerged organically, and I think it’s just due to practice. I feel like I’m thinking more like a writer, than a person just trying to write.

And I have to say, I’m stoked about that. What I’m talking about are the complexities of storytelling, specifically, character development and interaction.

In the past, I haven’t introduced a lot of new characters throughout a long piece of writing. Or the ones that have been introduced are just not that important in the grand scheme of the plot, or aren’t spontaneous. But in working on Refining Sylver–my lovely werewolf novel–I’ve realized the fun of introducing new characters–ones that were completely out of the blue–and intertwining their story with the MC’s.

In the 1000+ words I wrote last week, I introduced 2 new characters that I decided would not only be related, but estranged, and would be brought back together somehow during the story. It’s added a layer of intrigue–for myself–that I wasn’t expecting and I’m looking forward to fleshing it out in ink.

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I’m sure we’ve all experienced certain breakthroughs as we stride toward our writing goals. Have you broken any ceilings lately–or walls? Done better or more creatively than you thought you could?

Please leave a comment or word of advice! We’re all in this writing thing together!